Issue #554

5 January 2017 // 7 Tevet 5777


Early Bird Discounts for CONNECTIONS 2017 End January 15 – Register Today!

Roswell Klal Yisrael 2016-17 Fellows Kick Off Year-Long Young Leadership Program in Jerusalem 

Standing Together Against Hate: The World Union Responds to Vandalism of the Hebrew Union College Campus in Cincinnati, Ohio, US

Kiev Celebrates 25 Years of Growing Progressive Judaism in Ukraine at Hatikvah Center 

Plan Ahead! Explore Progressive Judaism and Experience Jewish History with the World Union 
Dear Reader

Upcoming Events


Early Bird Discounts for CONNECTIONS 2017 End January 15 – Register Today!

Don’t miss your chance to save with our special early bird discount on registration for CONNECTIONS 2017 on May 17-20 in Jerusalem! Register with significant savings through January 15 to secure your participation in four days of workshops, lectures, prayer, gala events, site visits and more. With opportunities to learn, connect and engage in the diversity of our Progressive Jewish world, this year’s conference will focus on Milestones and Innovations – honoring 200 years of Progressive Jewish history while exploring Jewish life and its impact on the future of our peoplehood. 

Wondering what CONNECTIONS is all about? Click here to find out!  

Count down to May 2017 on our website as we post the latest news and developments, including speakers and event details. Register online with our one-stop resource for all your conference and traveling needs: pricing and payment information, accommodation, and exciting pre-conference options

Early Bird Registration end January 15th, 2017!
Click here to register today! 

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Roswell Klal Yisrael 2016-17 Fellows Kick Off Year-Long Young Leadership Program in Jerusalem 

The Roswell Klal Yisrael Fellowship is a year-long partnership program of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), in collaboration with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the Global Leadership Institute of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Israel Movement for Progressive and Reform Judaism (IMPJ), that aims to cultivate the leadership potential of young adults, ages 20-26, from around the world as they continue to take part in building, strengthening, and determining the character of their Reform and Progressive Jewish communities. 

In December 2017, this year’s 2016-17 cohort, representing a diverse group of 22 young up-starts from eight countries, kicked off their year with their first seminar in Jerusalem. Taking advantage of the facilities for Reform learning, living and connecting at Mercaz Shimshon - Bet Shmuel, first days were spent in group dynamics sessions, leadership development workshops, conversations with  Israeli Reform rabbis (such as the director of the IRAC), an encounter with a young urban community (including a tour of their garden atop an old office building and mall), and many good (and warm) meals. Informal social activities allowed the group to discover commonalities and differences in everything from political views to Reform Jewish identities. 

Street art, public art / political statement, workshop in Tel Aviv 

Visits to Tel Aviv featured a tour of Beit Hatfutsot The Museum of The Jewish People, explored the street art and graffiti scene, and even left their own mark in the city through a creative street art workshop. While staying at the Daniel Center - Mishkenot Ruth Daniel Center in Jaffa the group explored the inner workings of a vibrant, Israeli and metropolitan Reform congregation. 

The group devoted an entire morning to the less touristic and familiar side of the city: a guided tour in the southern neighborhoods exposed us to the reality of the asylum seekers and foreign worker who populate the area. The encounter with a Christian Eritrean refugee provided many insights and questions for the fellows, much of which they discussed while visiting BINA the Jewish Movement for Social Change

Klal Yisrael Fellows and the Beduin Ajeec-Nisped volunteers
outside the Segev Shalom Community Center

Heading South, fellows visited an organization that empowers young female Bedouins volunteers in the Negev and to improve their communities' educational access and to increase their own opportunities for educational advancement. They then to Beer Sheva to learn about community organizing in socio-economically challenged neighborhood, and ate lunch in a restaurant that employs youth at risk. A tour of the neighborhood was led by an activist and Reform student-rabbi who also founded a new Reform community serving residents of the entire city. 
Meetings with Klal Yisrael alumni were a highlight of the trip, allowing current fellows to hear first-hand from alumni how the fellowship shaped their lives today. Current fellows then headed for an evening at Na LaGa’at, “Please Touch” in Hebrew, which is a nonprofit arts and cultural center that advocates for the deaf, blind and deaf-blind. Fellows met with staff to learn more about the aims of the organization before attending “Not by Bread Alone,” a play performed by deaf and blind actors that explores the ideas and experiences of darkness as a metaphor for blindness.

On Shabbat, fellows visited two Israeli Reform congregations in Tel Aviv and heard from both Rabbis about the success and challenges they face. After Shabbat, the group celebrated the first night of Chanukah and enjoyed a festive dinner together, before wrapping up impressions and processing takeaways from this first seminar of the program. 

All fellows look forward to meeting up again in Berlin, March 2017, for their next seminar, offering time to move their projects along and regroup for more leadership training and learning. 

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Standing Together Against Hate: The World Union Responds to Vandalism of the Hebrew Union College Campus in Cincinnati, Ohio, US

The World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) was outraged to learn about the hateful and antisemitic vandalism of the campus of the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati, Ohio, US on the morning of January 3, 2017. 

As a global organization that promotes tolerance of all faiths and peoples, the WUPJ joins our partners at HUC-JIR in standing strong against such hatred and continuing to advocate for interfaith leadership and community outreach activities that promote peace and understanding. 

As Rabbi Aaron Panken, President of HUC-JIR, noted in his statement, “We will not let this act of hate alter our important work. We are indebted to the people of Cincinnati who have stood by us for generations and who have offered their support again today. Tomorrow, a new day will dawn and the values we hold dear will continue to light the way.”

To read the full statement from Rabbi Dr. Aaron Pankin and the HUC-JIR, click here.

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Kiev Celebrates 25 Years of Growing Progressive Judaism in Ukraine at Hatikvah Center

In 2016, at the biennial of the European Union for Progressive Judaism (EUPJ) in London in April, Rabbi Alex Dukhovny suggested that Northwood & Pinner Liberal Synagogue (NPLS) in London sponsor a weekend seminar in Kiev, bringing together leaders from the various Progressive Communities scattered over Ukraine. For the past twenty years, the Reform Movement in Ukraine has grown tremendously owing to the support and dedication of NPLS who have facilitated the development of several Progressive communities in Ukraine and activities within the movement across the region in general. 

From left: Rabbi Alex Dukhovny, Rabbi Julia Gris, and
Rabbi Dr. Andrew Goldstein lead celebrations at Hatikvah Center
in Kiev honoring their 25 years of growth and achievements

The Shabbat before Chanukah was chosen as the date for the seminar to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of "Hatikvah" the Progressive Community Center of Kiev and, as such, the rebirth of Progressive Judaism in Ukraine. Thirty lay leaders travelled (some on overnight trains) from ten communities to Kiev to join with many members of Hatikvah. The meetings took place in the very impressive Hatikvah synagogue and community center in the heart of downtown Kiev.

The event kicked off on Friday December 16, 2016, with a lecture by Rabbi Dr. Andrew Goldstein, Emeritus Rabbi of NPLS and Vice President of the EUPJ, entitled "Planet Progressive Judaism," giving an overview of the growth of Progressive Judaism around the world, under the leadership of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and reinforcing the authenticity and necessity of Progressive Judaism. It was clear from the discussion that Ukrainian communities would like to establish twin communities in the United Kingdom or Western Europe to give them added support. Rabbi Goldstein promised to look into this with the leaders of the EUPJ. 

From left: Alexandra Gaydar, Chairperson of the Hatikvah Center in Kiev,
Rabbi Alex Dukhovny, and Alex Gaydar, Executive Director of
the Reform Movement in Ukraine, celebrate and honor 25 years
of Reform Jewish growth in the region

The 25th anniversary dedication ceremony and educational seminar, sponsored by NPLS. Cantor Sergei Schwartz and his congregation, Temple Sinai, in the United States, as well as by the Moses Feldman Family Foundation, and the WUPJ, was presented by Alex Gaydar, Executive Director of the Reform Movement in Ukraine, and Alexandra Gaydar, Chairperson of the Hatikvah Center. Each visiting community offered greetings including videos from their congregations. Gifts were exchanged and then special guests presented their congratulations, including Alexander Zlotnyk, President of the Reform Movement in Ukraine, and Gennady Polishchouk, Counsellor at the Israeli Embassy, and other invited guests from the umbrella of Jewish Ukranian organizations. Dr. Alex Kagan, Director of FSU Activities at the WUPJ, offered his congratulations and reflections on the significance of reaching this milestone by video link from Jerusalem. 

Rabbi Alex Dukhovny was then joined by Rabbi Julia Gris, a recent graduate of Leo Baeck College who is now serving the Progressive community in Odessa, and the cantor of Hatikvah for a joyful Kabbalat Shabbat service followed by a splendid Kiddush and dinner catered by Hatikvah volunteers.

Rabbi Alex Dukhovny and Rabbi Julia Gris with Rabbi Dr. Andrew Goldstein
honor 25 years of Progressive Judaism in Ukraine at the Hatikvah Center in Kiev 

The 25th anniversary of the re-establishing Progressive Judaism in Ukraine and the founding of its first Progressive congregation after the fall of the FSU, was an exclamation mark for the intensive work of the WUPJ and EUPJ, their congregations worldwide, and professional and lay-leaders in the nurturing, education, financial, moral and spiritual support of post-Soviet Jewry. 

Kindergarten children celebrating 25 years of growth of
Progressive Judaism at the Hatikvah Center in Kiev, Ukraine

Three dedicated World Union families – Austin and Nani Beutel, Sue and Jimmy Klau, and Anne Molloy and Henry Posner III – made the commitment to purchase a new synagogue-center for the Hatikvah congregation in order to secure the future of the Progressive Judaism not only for Kiev, but for all of Ukraine as well. Reaching this milestone – the twenty fifth anniversary of the Hatikvah congregation and the Reform Movement of Ukraine – reflects more than the spiritual, educational and outreach of Progressive Judaism in Ukraine. It demonstrates the importance of the dedicated leaders, the emerging local donors, families and individuals, who in sharing the values of the Progressive Judaism are devoting themselves to supporting them.

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Plan Ahead! Explore Progressive Judaism and Experience Jewish History with the World Union 

Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue: Seminar for Legal Professionals May 13-17, 2017
The World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), in cooperation with the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), is proud to invite legal professionals to experience and understand Israel from its most provocative, challenging and complex perspective: the law. 

Click here for details and to sign up today!

Spend five days meeting with leading politicians, judges, legislators, professors, attorneys and activists, each presenting a different facet of the prism that comprises Israel’s national and international law. Tour Israel’s Supreme Court and meet with justices; visit the Knesset and debate legislation with ministers; debate the issues with fellow professionals from around the world for a unique, global perspective. *With CLE accreditation for attorneys from the US. 

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Sail Away with the World Union: Igniting the Musical Jewish Soul in the Caribbean Aboard Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas February 17 - 24, 2018

The story of Jewish ties to the Caribbean is a fascinating one, dating back to Christopher Columbus and his first trans-Atlantic voyage. Home to some of the oldest Jewish communities in the Americas, the Caribbean also lays claim to synagogues with sandy floors, cemeteries that date back hundreds of years and Jewish families who still call the islands home. Join the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) for a relaxing and historically stimulating trip to the Islands, featuring Jewish music, shared song and prayer.

Early registration discounts are valid through March 2017, so click through to reserve your spot today

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February 16-26, 2017 - The Beutel Seminar For Progressive Jewish Leadership, Jerusalem, Israel

May 13-17, 2017 - Pursue Justice: Seminar for Legal Professionals, Jerusalem, Israel

May 17-20, 2017 - CONNECTIONS 2017, Jerusalem, Israel

July 13-23, 2017 - The Bergman Seminar for Jewish Educators, Jerusalem, Israel

December 6-10, 2017 - The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) Biennial Conference, Boston, USA

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